Review Pen: Love Trumps All By Sudarshan Mahabal

Sudarshan Mahabal

Author– Sudarshan Mahabal

BookLove Trumps All

Previous Works– Debut Novel

Publishers– Leadstart Publishing

Number of Pages– 374

Format– Paperback

Blurb-

Love Trumps All!’ is a work of fiction that takes the reader, along with its protagonists, on a journey that waves of Indian immigrants have made to the US and back, and many American businessmen have made to India in search of cheap labor since the Y2K phenomenon. It is an illuminating interwoven story of five unlikely friends in a global setting across Silicon Valley, Manhattan, Mumbai, Pune, Khamgaon (representative of small-town India full of youth with stars-and-stripes in their eyes!), Hyderabad and Nepal, as they explore their liberal progressive identities in a world powered by immigration and divided by nationality, religion, and politics.

A story that spans the Y2K opportunities of 1990s to the current backdrop of US 2016 presidential election. With rising nationalism and protectionism, uncertainties and anxieties that immigrants to the US face, the story takes on a particularly poignant hue. Universally recognizable dilemmas of patriotism vs global citizen-hood, traditionalism vs modernity, alienation vs fitting-in make this story one that will be read with equal interest and identification by readers in the US as well as in India.

Life-changing events alter the perspectives of the Indian as well as American characters in the book, as their search for identity and the expansion of their horizons takes them half way around the world and back, in search of their true selves.

Anant Joshi, a dreamer who chases the American dream during Y2K rush and leapfrogs from a small Indian town to set up one of the hottest and innovative Silicon Valley ventures.

Chris O’Brian, an energetic and creative high-tech sales leader from New York who is driven by his passion for life, creativity and making it big.

Sameera Qureshi, a young gynecologist from Hyderabad attending her medical residency in California and trying to find love and her true human identity.

Amy Cohen, a lively, articulate, compassionate pediatrician who is ready to ride on larger than life waves.

Madhura Sharma, journalist and social worker driven by her nationalistic ideals and drive to help others. What happens when their paths intersect and blend?”

Sudarshan Mahabal
Love Trumps All By Sudarshan Mahabal Instagram- @thebookpiper

Review-

Love Trumps All by Sudarshan Mahabal is a story of an Indian immigrant, living the American dream and later shifts to the life of an American, living the Indian dream.

A small-towner’s yearning to make it big, brings about a conflict with the love of his life. Decisions made, he chooses the former and thus begins his American dream. Something that gives him more to live for, an occupation that fends for his passion, a friend and a family of his own.

A gynecologist, who needs to make peace with her past and move on. And how her life takes various turns when she finds escape, and the love of her life.

An American couple who had a perfectly normal, happy life till calamity struck them and took away the only thing that mattered most, their companionship.

A journalist who hides her true identity to pursue the truth. A girl who had once discarded the idea of a future in foreign lands, has life make her stand at a one way path. And the path leads to those lands she had banished her minds from.

Starting with the basics, the book has a cover which is perfectly designed for the content. I would say that the book can probably never have a cover more relatable than the current one. It’s a simple and spacious design, still intricate enough to make a lot of sense, regarding the plot.

One of the things that I really appreciate, Sudarshan Mahabal, doing is, framing a character that is so normal that it’s a pleasant feeling to be reading about him. The character Anant, is an intelligent student and has a shy demeanor, he wasn’t one of those people who were upfront to express their ideas or be spotted in a crowd. And yet, he makes it big. I loved the way how he finds a guide and takes his words seriously. It shows him as a man of understanding and hard work.

It took me a good number of days to read the book, and the author has tried to add a lot of plot in those pages. We see the dream, we see the dream achieved, we see the way the dream was achieved, what happens next and a lot more.

Also Read-Review Pen: Busting Clichés By Mahevash Shaikh

Apart from all the good thought that forms a part of the book, I loved the way it ends. {Spoiler Alert} The part when Chris realizes that the kids in America are also the ones who need to be funded for a better future was a plot twist.

The title is the one which intrigues, but I did not find it that relatable with the plot. The book is a lot more than that.

Ratings-

Cover- 5 star

Title- 3 star

Blurb- 3.5 star

Content- 3 star

Writing and Presentation- 3 star

Overall- 3.5 stars out of 5

Despite have a lot of twists and turns in the plot, the book disappointed me because of the lack of engagement. It was too much to be processed.

The American dream was a realistic path but the Indian dream did lag behind in that context, it was just adventure and some suffering. I would really appreciate if the book would have two parts instead of three. An American dream, an Indian dream and the end are a perfect combination rather than dragging the plot mid-way.

An Indian goes overseas and then returns because he finds India to be better, is somewhat of a cliché that I wasn’t expecting.

The book has so many unnecessary details that its keeps diverting the reader from the actual plot. There were many times that I found myself wondering if such details were necessary. For someone who is eager to know what happens next, the book was not something that kept me hooked. I read the book at regular intervals, only to find the lack of any actual necessary plot mid-way.

In terms of the usual maintenance of the flow of events, the exposition was perfect, I was looking forward to read about Anant’s life but then there was no interesting plot twist till the trek. The trek was the part of the book that made me live the book again.

But then the ups and downs of the American elections were boring. Not every reader will be interested in the detailed thought of the protagonist regarding an important world event. But, they will surely be interested to know if the event has an effect on the protagonist’s life. Lacking the latter part, made the book all talk and no work.

Reviewed by- Banaja Prakashini

Buy the book-

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About Sudarshan Mahabal-

Sudarshan Mahabal is a Data Scientist in one of the large Silicon Valley companies by day, and a writer by night. He is a Production Engineer from VJTI Mumbai, MBA from California State University, Stanford Certified in Strategy and a research scholar working on his PhD in predictive analytics from SIU.

Sudarshan Mahabal is also a visiting professor of statistics and data mining at different MBA institutions. He splits his life between Silicon Valley, USA and Pune, India with his wife, their two sons and a golden retriever dog named Steffy who is the furry love of his life. ‘Love Trumps All!’ is his first novel.

One comment on “Review Pen: Love Trumps All By Sudarshan Mahabal

  1. Great review Banaja. I agree there is too much to process in the plot.
    As an author, I see these as three books combined into one book (each part as a book).
    This book is targeted towards Non-resident Indians in their 30s and 40s eager to relocate back to India. They have seen a lot (more, relatively) and may find different plot twists interesting reflections of their own experiences.

    >>Not every reader will be interested in the detailed thought of the protagonist regarding an important world event.
    >>But, they will surely be interested to know if the event has an effect on the protagonist’s life.
    Trump elections bring out colors of a true American liberal in Chris. It fundamentally changes protagonist to witness true America during a divisive election. To better understand her biases and waking up to global thinking.

    The core theme of the book is waking up to the feeling of global citizenship. Dreams, achievements, emotional closures and self-actualization. A lot had to happen to bring around a complete picture of transformations and self-discovery in 5 individuals.

    That is my take as an author while respecting your views as a reviewer.

    Thank you again for a very comprehensive review and so well connecting with the book! I am hoping more NRIs will find this book more relatable.

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